You are here
The Top Gear car review:Audi A6
For:Beautiful interior with just the right amount of eco credentials
Against:The exterior is understated and forgettable - c'mon Audi!
3.0 BiTDI  Quattro S Line 4dr Tip Auto
Crushing pace and - configured in the right way - comfortable too.
The A6 is a classy, understated saloon. It’s confident but lacks sparkle.
The RS6’s little brother has gained some muscles and a new face. We test the new 444bhp V8 saloon
The S6 hides big performance behind sedate-ish looks. Better than before, but it’s all a bit too… calm for Top Gear
Convincing hybrid, but high cost means diesel makes better sense…
With improved cabin quality, dynamics and emissions, anyone driving an all-new A6 is in good hands
What we say:
Gather round, smart and sensible people. The classy, underrated A6 is a car for you
What is it?
This is Audi’s answer to the BMW 5-Series and Jaguar XF. A few years back it was given a facelift so minor you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference. Think new headlights, grille, sills, rear lights and exhaust, as well as trim and some acoustic glazing for the windows. Underneath however, it’s more or less the same A6, and as such retains that car’s nuances: overall it’s good, reliable, hewn from rock and as understated as they come. The perfect mode of transport for assassins, particularly the Bentley V8-engined S6. Has 444bhp ever looked this discrete?
As mentioned, you won’t be overwhelmed by its sparkle. For the last facelift Audi ditched the eight-speed CVT slushboxes in all FWD A6s and replaced them with the seven-speed DSG (much better), and tweaked the auto stop/start to eke out better eco stats.
But otherwise it’s business as usual. The steering is quick but inert and in the majority of cars sold in the UK (FWD), you’re looking at some understeer when limits are breeched. Stay away from the hairy end, however, and spec it right, and the A6 is actually very comfortable to do big miles in. It’s nice to have the security of Quattro working in the background too.
The entry-level 2.0-litre diesel is a decent engine (especially in upgraded, smoother ultra guise), but we’d advise you to go for the BiTDI V6, or indeed the Bentley-engined S6, which has 444bhp and will hit 60mph in 4.4secs. That car is a proper sleeper
On the inside
As ever, it’s so masterful in its layout and rigidity you wonder how the world survived before. It’s simple but the ergonomics are excellent, and the dash has been upgraded to include cool things like proper detailed mapping between the dials. Everything falls to hand, the MMI is intuitive and easy to use, the seats are great, there’s decent space (the rear cabin is vast) and overall the fit and finish is absolutely superb. Still right at the top of the class, it’s a real treat to be in and use.
You shouldn’t have any worries with an A6. Not only has it got the might of Audi’s R&D behind it, but all the engines and transmissions are well-proven in loads of other VW Group cars. With every passing year they seem to get more efficient. And it seems you lot love ‘em too: Audi sells more than both Mercedes and BMW in the executive segment. Just remember to spec the air suspension when you get one on the company car scheme. The accountant won’t get it, but you will.